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Issue 193

Questionnaire: Chiharu Shiota

Q: What should stay the same? A: ‘Nature, the earth.’

BY Chiharu Shiota in Interviews , Questionnaires | 08 FEB 18

View from a plane flying over the Alps. Courtesy and photograph: the artist

What images keep you company in the space where you work?

There are zero images – it’s a white cube; I want to be empty, zero, and then I can create something.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?

Untitled (1976) from Ana Mendieta’s series ‘Silueta’ (Silhouette, 1973–80).

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be?

Francisco de Goya’s El sueño de la razón produce monstruos (The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters) from the series ‘Los caprichos’ (The Caprices, 1797–99).

What is your favourite title of an artwork?

Jan Fabre’s The Sound of One Hand Clapping (1990).

What do you wish you knew?

I would like to have access to another person’s brain – feel what they are feeling, think what they are thinking. We struggle to really understand each other.

What should change?

Me, myself.

What could you imagine doing if  you didn’t do what you do?

I couldn’t imagine not being an artist.

What music are you listening to?

Steve Reich’s minimalist piece Clapping Music (1972) and everything by Richard Wagner.

What are you reading?

All the writings of Hayao Kawai,  especially The Japanese Psyche: Major Motifs in the Fairy Tales of Japan (1982) and Dreams, Myths and Fairy Tales in Japan (1995).

What do you like the look of?

The view from a plane – especially when I am over the clouds.

What is art for?

This is a difficult question, but I am searching for the answer. 

Chiharu Shiota is a Japanese installation and performance artist based in Berlin, Germany. Her exhibition ‘Beyond Time’ is on view at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, UK, from 30 March to 2 September.